The Adventure Waiting to Happen Right In Our Neighborhood

I have a suspicion that spring has tricked us.  Last week, we were graced with two promising days of sunshine, but since then we've descended to temperatures in the upper 30's and low 40's coupled with dreary rain and wind.  (Even as I type, I wear a blanket wrapped around my shoulders.  I can't shake the chill.)

That being said, my family recently has discovered something, or more aptly, somewhere.  It's a small path just a few minute's walk from our house that leads through woods along a shallow creek bed. 

I can't divulge more information regarding its location, though.  It's a secret.  My oldest daughter is intent on keeping it this way, with the exception of sharing its whereabouts with a select few neighborhood friends who have either proven themselves trustworthy or who appear sufficiently directionally-impaired, and thus, would be unable to accurately convey directions if interrogated.

As for me, I'm just amazed that this place exists.  It's less than five minutes from the house where I've lived for nearly eight years.  What else don't I know about my neighborhood?

I hadn't known that braided vines dangle from the trees, creating an ethereal vibe like I've wandered into a Tolkein forest.

I didn't expect that the make-shift bridge my husband erected with a single board would draw out calm, encouraging leadership from my eight-year-old as she coached her younger sisters to watch their steps.

I hadn't remembered how kids could be enthralled with being outside: touching moss, inspecting spiky jaggers on a bush, listening to a bird's call, or overturning rocks in a stream bed in hopes of finding a fossil.

I feel like Mary in The Secret Garden, as if we've discovered something that's been locked away.  I'm not the only one; yesterday, my oldest stood at the window as rain dripped down the screen and said, "I want to go back to our path."

I understand.  So does my husband, who was the first to discover the trail and since has returned multiple times with pruning shears to carefully clear a walkable route.  "This is what childhood should be about," he noted.

Explore on, kids.  Explore on.


  1. Oh, how this resonated with me, my friend. I love your path and how your family has embraced it. This past weekend, the temperatures were in the 70's, so Dudette played outside with her neighbor friends. The three kids ran back and forth from our yard to theirs and were ecstatic about their freedom. At one point, they asked if it was okay to go across the street to the dam that turns a small stream into our lake. Since I knew that one of our neighbors was working on at the dam, I allowed them to head on out for a new adventure, one that didn't include a parent hovering. It was an awesome experience for them, and much like you found, I hadn't remembered how it felt to run the neighborhood as a kid. I'm glad they had the chance.

    1. I'm so glad that Dudette and her friends have this chance, too. I think about some of my most magical childhood memories, and they're often when I was out discovering something -- whether in the small cluster of pine trees behind my house, or a little pocket of "woods" at the edge of my neighborhood.

      Your statement about not having a parent hovering resonates with me! I've been accustomed to watching the girls so diligently for many years, and I'm realizing that it's time to dole out age-appropriate freedoms.

      We're all growing up, aren't we?

  2. Oh yes! I love those treasures that we discover. Isn't it amazing how something like this can completely transform our outlook on things? I remember as a little girl finding mystical places like this and spending hours exploring, touching, being. How delightful that you've found this special little spot so close to home. I can't wait to see what it looks like in the summer... you'll have to update us with pictures when things are abloom.

    That funky vine-like tree is awesome.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. I certainly will show pictures in the summer -- great idea!

      My favorite thing is that funky vine-like tree, too. Can't quite get over it. :)

  3. So great, it looks amazing!

    I'm looking forward to being in our new house with a yard next year and just letting the kids amuse themselves outside and make up their own games. They're really missing that at the moment.

    1. Francesca, having a yard is so, so, so, so wonderful. I can imagine that they (and you!) miss not having it!

  4. Amen to that! We have lots of woods around our house and my kids love finding new paths. It is, indeed, what childhood should be about!


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